- Equal Justice Requires Simplification of the New York State Courts January 14, 2022
by Janet DiFiore, Chief Judge, State of New York
New Yorkers need a simple-to-navigate, equitably-structured court system that delivers first-class justice services to every litigant in every court—regardless of who they are or where they come from in life.
Over the last 22 months, the Bench and Bar have traveled a long and arduous road together. We have transformed and reinvented the ways in which we deliver our services in order to safely manage our workloads and ensure access to justice for all New Yorkers. In the New York State Courts, we have established a productive “new normal” that relies on our hybrid model of in-person and virtual court operations to deliver justice services to lawyers and litigants during the ongoing public health crisis. Furthermore, our court system has led the state in implementing important COVID preventative policies, such as the mandatory vaccination program for all judges and court staff that took effect last September. As a result, our court system is well-positioned to meet the evolving challenges of the pandemic and resume the forward progress of the “Excellence Initiative.” (more…)
- N.Y. Needs Structure in the Courts January 8, 2022
by Rolando T. Acosta, Randall T. Eng and Carolyn Walker-Diallo
in the Times Union
New York State has rightfully earned its place as one of the progressive capitals of the nation. New Yorkers have been at the forefront of some of the greatest movements for change over the course of our history — from workers’ rights to women’s suffrage, from civil rights to criminal justice reform.
But for decades, if not longer, that has not been true of needed reform of the court system. Right now, we are engaged in a struggle to transform our justice system to reverse generations of inequality and injustice. New York is today far behind many states in enacting long overdue reforms that we can and must pursue to ensure equal access to justice for all New Yorkers. (more…)
- Finally Bring Order to N.Y. Courts November 16, 2021
by Edwina G. Richardson-Mendelson, Ronald Richter and Juanita Bing Newton
in the New York Daily News
The pandemic has accelerated and emphasized deep flaws in New York State’s justice system. Most glaringly, it has thrown a spotlight on how the state’s antiquated and complex trial court system puts our most vulnerable citizens at a terrible disadvantage in their pursuit of fair, speedy and equal access to justice. (more…)
- Renewed Call for Court Simplification by Chief Judge in No Uncertain Terms March 2, 2021
- Manhattan lawmaker wants to ensure judicial diversity in NY state February 10, 2020
by Denis Slattery
in the New York Daily News
Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) is introducing legislation that would help New York promote judicial diversity by creating annual reports providing lawmakers and the public with valuable insight and demographic information regarding those appointed and elected to the bench.
“They say you can’t manage what you don’t measure,” Hoylman said. “This legislation will help us to understand the importance of judicial diversity and where New York needs to make improvements.” Read more…
- VIDEO – Watch Governor Cuomo’s 2020 State of the State Address January 9, 2020
Watch Governor Cuomo announce his support for Court Restructuring in his 2020 State of the State Address.
- Cuomo Offers Support for DiFiore’s Court Reform Proposal in State of the State Address January 9, 2020
by Dan M. Clark
in the New York Law Journal
It’s the first time Cuomo has said he would discuss the issue of court reform with members of the Legislature, who have for years given the idea only cursory consideration.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced support during his annual State of the State address Wednesday for Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s ambitious proposal to overhaul the state’s trial court system into a consolidated tier of venues intended to better serve attorneys and litigants.
- Biggest opponents to court-merger plan continues to be Supreme Court justices November 23, 2019
in The Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Court administrators have been trying regularly to get laws passed to consolidate the court system in New York for the last 50 years. Chief Administrative Judge Lawrence Marks has spoken at two public hearings this month to discuss Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s proposal to transform the 11-court system to a three-tiered system. It has drawn mixed reactions, with diversity and judicial independence being two of the biggest concerns expressed by judges who have weighed in. Read more…
- Video – Public Hearing: Court Consolidation – Nov. 21, 2019, Albany November 21, 2019
- Diversity, Independence Concerns Again Roil NY Court Reform November 21, 2019
by Ryan Boysen
The battle lines between supporters and opponents of a sweeping proposal to reform New York’s courts continued to harden at a second legislative hearing on Thursday, with concerns over diversity and stripping judges of their independence emerging as the flies in the ointment of an otherwise well received proposal. Read more…
- VIDEO – Public Hearing: Court Consolidation – Nov. 13, 2019, NYC November 13, 2019
- Reform Necessitates An Amendment November 9, 2019
by The Hon. Paula L. Feroleto
For nearly 30 years, the more rural counties of the Eighth Judicial District have been denied a sitting state Supreme Court Justice because of the logistics, expenses and political realities of being part of a sprawling district. Although the district, where I serve as Administrative Judge, consists of eight counties in Western New York and the Southern Tier, one large county, Erie County, has controlled the judicial election since the very early 1990s.
- Chief Judge Proposes Constitutional Reforms to Simplify Outdated Court Structure, Aiming to Enhance Access, Optimize Resources September 25, 2019
NEW YORK – Chief Judge Janet DiFiore today proposed amendments to the State Constitution that would eliminate New York’s complex maze of 11 separate trial courts and replace it with a simplified three-level structure to make the courts easier to navigate, increase operational efficiency and reduce costs to litigants, among other potential benefits.
- Modern Courts Supports Chief Judge’s Proposal to Simplify the State Court Structure September 25, 2019
ANNOUNCES ORGANIZATION OF A SIMPLIFY THE COURTS COALITION
New York, NY – Modern Courts welcomes and enthusiastically supports the Chief Judge Janet DiFiore’s proposal to change the current court system so that it better serves the needs of all those who use the courts to resolve their problems, whether civil, criminal, commercial or family matters.
Amelia T.R. Starr, Chair of the Fund and Committee for Modern Courts, said “Simplifying the courts will provide a system that works for all litigants – families, children, domestic violence survivors, advocates for the poor, small businesses, and anyone else who uses the courts.” Continue Reading